PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Jefferson County Jaguars semi-pro football team will kick off their 2021 season in the Great Eastern Football Association (GEFA) tonight in Johnstown against the Flood City Thunder with a game under the lights (7 p.m.) at Point Stadium
The Jaguars have combined forces with the DuBois Mountain Lions this season. Bill “Clicker” Clark stepped down from running the Mountain Lions, and David Rotsch expanded the Jefferson County Jaguars to cover the DuBois area as well this year.
The Jaguars hope to build on some individual success last year and have that translate into more team success.
Veteran offensive guard David Rotsch retired this offseason and has transitioned into a full time head coach and offensive coordinator.
The offense will look a little different this year for the Jaguars.
Electrifying all purpose threat, Dane Bright will be moving from quarterback to his natural position of wide receiver. Bright didn’t hesitate when asked to step up and play quarterback the last two years due to need, but he’s excited to go back to catching the ball again.
Bright is looking to explode offensively and put the league on notice. Second year man Tyrone Pinson adds height at 6-3 and toughness opposite of Bright. Troy O’Brien, Zach Hoy, Ryan Park, Allan Mahan and rookies Dilbert Fairweather and Jay Coblentz will also see time at wide receiver.
The Jaguars went from having no true quarterbacks on the roster to having three battle for the position. Bill Csorba has the early lead, with the most knowledge of the system. Csorba has a strong arm and is calm under pressure.
Antawane Davis is very new to the system but is big and fast. Davis has a plus arm and is a quick study. Ryan Fegley is a journeyman in the league who has battled injuries but has a solid frame and a good understanding of the position.
Last year’s rookie sensation Jihad Bennett will return to the backfield. Bennett has tremendous size and strength, but his shiftiness and vision really help him run the ball. Bennett was named a Top 5 running back in the league as a rookie last year and looks to build on that this year.
Joining Bennett in the backfield is rookie Devin Clark, who played for Clarion University. Clark is fast, powerful and has tremendous vision and hands. Clark excels at pass blocking and is already a team leader.
Not to be forgotten is rookie Duda Clark, who will be handle the fullback duties this year and will aide in both the rushing and passing game.
The offensive line will be led by Sean Kennelley, who has moved from right guard to fill the shoes of retired Rotsch.
The center position is another area that is still yet to be determined. Aaron Powell has the lead over Gage Arrington currently, but if Arrington can step up, Powell will happily go back to playing defensive line, where he showed flashes of brilliance late last year.
Transitioning from defensive line to offensive line this year is Josh Flinn, who is slated to start at right guard.
Second year man Ashton Rotsch and rookie Brad Raifsnider look to add depth and competition across the offensive line.
The defense is headlined by Zach Hoy at middle linebacker. Hoy not only led the league in tackles in only four games last year, but set the single-game record for tackles against the Wildcats. Hoy has a high football IQ and not only leads the defense in his actions but also calls all the signals too.
Joining Hoy at linebacker is Ryan Park, Allan Mahan and Jake Ross. Park has had an impressive off season and is in the best shape of his career. Mahan brings a lot of speed to the position and Ross brings power.
The defensive line is expected to be good, with the duo of Mike Duke and Jimmy Werner leading the group.
Duke’s size and knowledge of the game are very good, but his motor and fearlessness are his two biggest assets. Duke has been double teamed on 75 percent of his defensive snaps throughout his career, but still manages to be in the league leaders in all categories.
Werner is not only powerful in the weigh room and on the field but also is amazingly agile and has straight line speed.
Also playing in the trenches will be Aaron Powell, Keith Kniseley and Ashton Rotsch. Powell is quick and plays with great leverage, while Kniseley is long, strong and mean. Rotsch is young and learning the position, but has the pedigree for greatness if he chooses.
The secondary is very solid as well.
Troy O’Brien is switching from corner to safety, while Bright is moving from safety to corner. O’Brien is a tackle machine and is a wonderful safety net if anything gets past the defensive line and linebackers. Bright is a shut down corner and will take away half the field in all passing situations.
Rookie Anthony Simpson is big and physical at the other corner. Veteran corner Tom Huber is on PUP list currently, but we hope to have him back for the season.
Rookies Jay Coblentz and Isaiah DeChurch will also get time at corner. Coblentz is raw, but has great ball skills and plus athletic ability. DeChurch has shown good coverage skills as well.
Home games will be played at Harmon Field, 121 E. Liberty St. in Punxsutawney. All home games will kick off at 1 p.m. and are free admission.
The first home game is next Saturday (April 10).
Fans can follow the Jaguars all season long on the team’s facebook page — www.facebook.com/JeffersonCountyJaguars.org.